Good Books and Good Friends = Good Times

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As a kid, I read a literal armful of books almost every week. I loved to go to the library and treasure hunt among the shelves to find books by new authors as well as familiar ones. Mostly I looked for great stories—ones I could invest my time and emotion in.

If I found an author I loved—I read every book they wrote that I could get my hands on—in both my school and public libraries. I saved money from my paper route and would splurge on a dozen books at a time through Scholastic and library sales.

Every book I opened was an invitation to be transported to a new world—sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively—always eagerly. I fell in love with with the Civil War Era and learned that people on both sides of the war had a lot in common—they cared about their families, their friends, their country. I admired America’s early pioneers—marveling at how much they could accomplish so much with so little—and most especially without electricity and indoor plumbing.

I loved stories about friendship, about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and I especially loved stories where the hero or the heroine made the “right” choice—which usually complicated their lives for most of the book, but their courage would finally be validated by the ending.

I read stories about contemporary kids dealing with the same problems I dealt with: peer pressure, bullying, homework, book reports, obnoxious siblings, the awkwardness of adolescence. I cheered some characters on and booed others. Some gave me courage to keep going when life got tough. 

Some books made me laugh out loud— while others made me cry. The best ones did both.

Some books, like Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, are extremely memorable. I loved Leslie’s imagination and felt Jess’s pain as the picked-on only brother in the middle of four sisters. I was just as eager as Jess to embrace Leslie’s make-believe world and was equally devastated when that world ended way-too-soon. 

One thing I love about middle-grade is that kids aged 8-14 can go on limitless adventures and accomplish great things: whether the stories are set in the “real” world or in fantasy worlds–with or without magic objects.

Imagination and wonder are key.

I am partial to middle-grade novels that help kids believe that they can be heroes in their own lives. Whether the main character dons a super hero costume or not, I love characters that find courage within themselves to solve their own problems—because it helps the reader to understand that they, too, can be a super hero in their own life.

To me, it isn’t Harry Potter’s wand that makes him special, it’s his sense of loyalty to his  personal code of ethics, his friends, and his courage to make the right choices—even when it would be easier not to.

Good friends and good books are still very important to me.  Though now I write books about good friends and enjoy hanging out with my husband and kids as well.

Good books

Laugh lots … Love much … Write on!

When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She is the author of the middle-grade Ginnie West Adventure series, a picture book titled “Popcorn,” and in the process of releasing two new series in the near future-a family drama and a middle-grade fantasy.

Color and Story Mood

One of my favorite things outside of writing, is color. The varying world of color. Of mixing and matching, of contrast and light. My hobbies involve color in big ways. I knit with yarn that’s sometimes bright and vibrant and sometimes subtle and soft in tone. I also love scrapbook papers with patterns of varying colors on them and cotton quilt fabrics that mix and match.

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One of the best ways to delve into the character while writing or reading is to experience some if not all of the five senses. Taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. As a reader or writer, do you notice color when you read or write? Color can give the indication of all sorts of moods to the story.

dark house

Imagine a house, dark, brown, gray, black (color) with rough planks of wood (Touch).

Now imagine a house, light, white, pink, orange, yellow, smooth with shiny slick sides.

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Two very different houses and the color effects the mood you have when reading about it.

Dark=mellow, sorrowful, maybe scary

Bright=energetic, cheerful, happy

When reading your next book take a notice at the colors used to describe everything. What do you notice? How does it affect your mood when reading the scenes?

What is your favorite use of color?

 

AnshaKotyk

Ansha Kotyk loves the color of the cover of GANGSTERLAND, it’s a muted red with dark shadows of villains in the background, lurking.  Which leads into book #2, Apocalypse Junction, where getting sucked into a book has its drawbacks: a missing sister you need to rescue, a lost gold mine to find, AND a way out.  Available later this year. Check out www.anshakotyk.com for more.

The Accelerating Advancement of Technology or, What the Heck Are Snips?

Originally, I intended to write this post about gender roles and identity, considering that’s been in the news a lot lately. The nursery rhyme, “What Are Little Boys Made Of?” had popped into my head as a cute lead in…

“What are little boys made of? Snips and snails and puppy dog tails.”

But, that got me to wondering. What the heck is a “snip”?

I mean, I know that a snip is a small bit of something — a cutting — but how did that relate to the context of the poem? The rhyme is old. Maybe snips meant something else back then.

“Look it up!” I hear the voice of my mother, and countless teachers through my years of schooling, say in my head.

In those days, that meant dragging the enormous, hernia-enducing dictionary off the shelf and rifling through its thin pages by using those half-moon notches that separated each section by letter. Remember those?

Snip

And that would likely have been the end of it. I would have been enlightened by a couple of snips of information (see what I did there?), but been no closer to the answer I’d been seeking, although number three seems like it might fit, except that it refers to girls, oddly enough.

(I took this image on my phone, which I then emailed to myself. How many years ago would that sentence have made no sense whatsoever?)

Today, however, when confronted with the question, I simply type in the words “snips and snails” and receive this: SnipsandSnails

Wow. Almost 400,000 instances of that phrase dredged up in less than a second! After a few clicks, I quickly learn that the original rhyme probably read, “snips of snails,” and that other words like “frogs” and “snakes” have been substituted for “snips” down through the years. Another possibility is the word may have been “snigs”, which was a word in the Cumbrian dialect for a small eel, according to Wikipedia. What’s a “Cumbrian dialect” you ask? Well, all you have to do is click the helpful link to find out…

As a writer of fiction, I often ponder the future and the past. Where have we been and where we are going. Through computers and the Internet, we have nearly the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips. Things we take for granted today, like Google, didn’t exist only twenty years ago! It’s become so prevalent in our society that the company name has become a verb, synonymous with my mother’s, “Look it up,” from my childhood.

Gutenberg developed the first printing press in the mid 1400s. The first electrical computers were invented in the mid 1940s. Pocket calculators appeared in the 1970s. Desktop computers became commonplace in the 1980s and the Internet (the World Wide Web) blossomed in the 1990s. It took around 500 years to make the leap from the printing press to computing, but only about a tenth of that time to get from those first computers to where we are today.

The term “Technological Singularity” is used to describe a computer with the equivalent brain power of a human being, also known as artificial intelligence. Some scientists believe laptop-sized computers, available to the general public, will have the computational capacity and storage of the human brain within five to ten years. This doesn’t mean those computers will be sentient — that technological leap is still nebulous in time frame and affect on the world — but you will have the equivalent of another brain’s worth of computing power on your desk or in your lap.

Our children are growing up in an Internet-driven world, just like me and my peers grew up in a television and telephone-driven world. My parents grew up in a radio-driven world.

What kind of world will our children’s children grow up in?

Science fiction writers attempt to be visionaries of the future. When we watch the original Star Trek series from the 60s, we see Kirk with a flip-phone for a communicator. In the 90s version, The Next Generation, we see the crew members walk around with multiple tablets and iPads. (Why did they need so many?) The shows portray a time hundreds of years in the future, yet some of these technologies appear today — even have been surpassed today. It’s becoming more and more difficult to create stories that stand the test of time because our technology is advancing so rapidly.

Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Humans have never been closer to performing acts of magic in our history. To Gutenberg, our current state of technology would likely be considered nothing short of magical. Who’s to say we won’t be able to conjure up a meal, or travel somewhere across the globe, or across the galaxy, at the snap of our fingers someday?

I had a recent reviewer of my science fiction series say, “typical hokey science, but enjoyable story,” and I had to laugh. Some aspect or another of conventional science is disproved almost daily. Any of you remember when people thought taste buds for salty, sour, bitter, and sweet resided in certain areas of your tongue? Yeah. I was taught that in school. We even did an experiment regarding that when I was in sixth grade and I remember thinking it was bogus then. Yet, that was the accepted “science” of the day. What scientific facts are we teaching now that will seem just as silly in thirty or forty years?

Technology is making the lines between science fiction and fantasy blur. Characters like Gandalf might become reality in our future. (Though he’ll probably only look like that while he’s cosplaying at a comic book convention). So, don’t be afraid to insert fantastical elements in your futuristic stories. They aren’t called “flights of fancy” for nothing!

Maybe someday we’ll actually build boys from snips of snails and puppy dog tails.

Girls from sugar and spice and everything nice? Nah, that’ll never happen.

Changing Horses in the Middle of the Stream

Everyone has heard the old adage ‘don’t change horses in the middle of the stream.’ It’s been said for good reason, one should find works for them and stay committed to it. Well, I’m ignoring their advice and changing horses, anyway.

I’m switching things up a bit. For the past five years I’ve been writing the Princess Kandake series that takes place in ancient Nubia. I guess you could say that it’s historical fiction and deals with warriors and ancient ways of doing things. I most often describe it as an action/adventure series that takes place in the long ago kingdom of Nubia on the far away continent of Africa.

After spending so much time in research of ancient Nubian and military tactics, writing in current times is definitely something different. And that’s what I’m ready for—something different. So I’m leaving the horse of things historical and ancient and jumping over to the mount of things new and far-flung—science fiction. I’ve flipped my writing around. Right now I’m working on a new series that takes place in current times and has to do with aliens and shape-shifters. The other big difference is that this series has a male main character and is laced with what I call boy-humor.

Science fiction is, and always has been, my first love in both reading and writing, but my audience knows me best for my historical bent. Introducing something so different could be a problem. What if my audience isn’t ready for such a change? What if they grab a book of the new series expecting to find an ancient tale and are disappointed by finding something so different? Both are very real and disastrous possibilities.

So, to break it to my readers gently and help them become acclimated to a different side of me, I have released a small collection of short stories that are all science fiction. My hope in writing Obscura is that my audience is intrigued by my sense of the odd, weird, and strange.

Does this mean that I will never write about the ancient again? Absolutely not. I’m just taking a small break from the past and reaching into the future. My plans are to go wherever the story takes me. And as always, regardless of where the tale leads or which horse I ride, my commitment is to provide the reader with a story well told.

Creativity Under the Gun

DeadlineThere’s nothing like a deadline to get the creative juices flowing, at least for me. This summer I signed up for an online screenwriting class. Reading Save the Cat! (on more than one occasion) has helped me focus my story ideas and I figured taking a class would push me one step further.

Did it ever!

I’ve been working on a sequel to my first novel, Wish You Weren’t, and got stuck in the same place I always do: the climatic scenes where all the car chases, explosions and against-all-odds rescues are supposed to take place. Except that wasn’t happening in my story. The end of my outline sounded stupid. The climax scene wasn’t working. I was bored. And frustrated.

So when my teacher assigned us to write a two-page treatment and then turn it into a five-page script, I decided to take my concept for my sequel, Borrowed Time, and use it for my assignment.

By Monday noon I was sweating bullets. The assignment was due Monday at 5 p.m., but that deadline was irrelevant because my computer was about to die and I’d forgotten to bring my cord on vacation. As I watched the battery percentage drop, I came up with a crazy idea. A flight of fancy that totally fit the spirit of the story. Not only for the homework, but for the book.

I hurriedly finished the assignment and emailed it to my teacher, eager to dive back into completing my book. Once I get a new power cord…

Has your writing ever been inspired by a deadline? From an unexpected source?

(This blog post brought to you courtesy of my husband’s laptop!)

Tips For Reading Aloud at School Visits

Visiting schools and connecting with students is rewarding and inspiring, especially if the kids have read your book and are excited to meet you.

Every speaker has a mouth; 
An arrangement rather neat.
 Sometimes it’s filled with wisdom. Sometimes it’s filled with feet.  ~  Robert Orben

I’ve found using visual aids or props (such as a funny hat) works well in grabbing the kids’ attention . Once you’ve got it, you want to keep it.

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Werewolf hands and storytelling cloak piqued kids’ curiosity at this reading.

Here are a few simple tips that can help to engage your audience while you read short excerpts or whatever you’ve chosen to share:

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  • Practice reading your material aloud beforehand. You’ll sound polished and will nail the pacing. Pause for a second to emphasize certain parts. For example, a line or phrase that’s spooky. The pause adds drama and anticipation.
  • Introduce yourself. Tell them you’re a children’s writer and what ages you write for. Even if you’re not published yet, you’re a writer. They’ll be impressed. Add some interesting, fun, or silly facts about yourself.
  • Give a quick explanation about what you’ll be reading. If it’s an excerpt from your book or anthology, give a brief description about what part of the book you’re reading from. For example, if I’m reading from Secret of Haunted Bog, I tell the kids, “This is the part where AJ Zantony and Freddy ‘Hangman’ Gallows are lost deep in the bog.”
  • Make eye contact often.
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Make eye contact.
  • Mark the spot you’re reading from with your finger or thumb so you don’t lose your place.
  • Avoid speaking in a monotone voice.
  • Speak loud and clear so everyone in the room can hear you. I get a big kick out of startling the kids when I read a short excerpt from Curse at Zala Manor that begins with a shouting “Arrggh!” from Musky, the zombie.
  • Be dramatic. Kids love it, and they’ll pay closer attention. Use different voices for the different characters. I love doing Stumpy the peg-leg skeleton’s scratchy voice when he says, “Give me back me key, wench!” from that same Zala Manor excerpt. It always gets a good reaction.
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Be dramatic and animated.
  • Keep it short. The length should vary according to what grade level you’re dealing with.
  • Variety is the spice of school visits. Depending on how much time you have, switch it up and read a few different things.
  • If you’re speaking into a microphone, it’s much easier if it’s propped up in the stand instead of trying to juggle it plus hold the book or papers you’re reading from.
  • Keep making eye contact and try to cover all areas of your audience so they feel like you’re talking directly to them.
  • If you make a mistake, smile and shrug it off. Kids don’t expect you to be perfect. We all mess up when reading something out loud. They’ll take your cue and follow your example the next time they stumble over words when reading out loud in class.
  • If you have props that go along with the reading, be sure to use them. I had a cheap plastic pirate’s hook from the dollar store that I held while reading Shel Silverstein’s poem “Captain Hook” from Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I used it to touch my toes and put it up to my nose as I read those parts. Arr! The rascals loved it!

Each visit is different, and getting the students’ feedback on their interests and ideas can turn out to be a gold mine for you! So have at it. And pat yourself on the back for taking the time to make a difference and touch young lives.

Do you have any other tips to add? Do you have a favorite anecdote from one of your school visits? Do you love connecting with kids? 

Lynn Kelley Author, Curse of the Double Digits, BBH McChiller, Monster Moon mysteries
Lynn Kelley worked as a court reporter for 25 years while she and her husband, George, raised their four little rascals, but nowadays she’s a goofball in the highest degree who’s susceptible to laughing jags. She tries to control herself out in public, but it’s not easy. She’ll jump at any excuse to wear funky get-ups. For instance, making wacky YouTube videos, entertaining her grandkids, or hanging out at  a costume party.

Her first chapter book, Curse of the Double Digits, debuted in October 2012. Under the pseudonym BBH McChiller she and co-author Kathryn Sant write the fun, spooky Monster Moon mystery series for ages 8 to 12.  Book 1 – Curse at Zala Manor,  Book 2 – Secret of Haunted Bog, and Book 3 – Legend of Monster Island.

My Second Father

1949: The boy peered out from his hiding place as the soldiers grabbed Father and lead him away—every fiber of his being longed to cry out at the injustice, but he dared not. Father’s crime: graduating from an American university, St. John’s University in Shanghai, the Harvard of China. And now the Communists considered him a threat to their new power and they imprisoned folks like that. The boy knew what would happen now: his two brothers and three sisters would go to live with Grandpa and Grandma. He and Mother would flee to Taiwan for he was the eldest son, the one the family’s line depended upon.

So began the inspiring true life story of my father-in-law when he and his mother fled to Taiwan to escape the Communist’s takeover of mainland China. We hear many inspiring stories, but few have the opportunity to live beside someone who endured and overcome adversity as he did.

His story: Arriving in an unfamiliar country, he and Mother got along as best as they could on the money she had brought with her. But within a year, she started feeling sick and within two she died of cancer. The boy who was just starting his freshman year of high school, felt completely lost. Despair nearly won, but when things seemed darkest, one of his high school teachers reached out to a contact at the China Daily News and helped him get a job as a laborer. For a year the boy fetched tea, delivered messages and did all manner of tasks in the evenings, while keeping up his studies during the day. His efforts earned him enough to live on and helped him begin building a foundation for his future. As he started his sophomore year, his superiors promoted him to a proofreader.

Graduation brought with it the challenge of passing an exam in order to enroll in university. After much studying, he succeeded and began a two year course in Journalism. At night he continued his work for the newspaper while pursuing coursework during the day. He graduated and the newspaper promoted him to Reporter. He covered all types of events for three years in Taiwan before they sent him to Qimei, an island off Taiwan. While there, he covered one particular story in more depth than usual, for he had met a woman he took a liking to. At the end of a year when the newspaper called him back to Taiwan, he proposed marriage and she accepted.

Upon his return, the newspaper again promoted him, this time to editor. Seeking to improve their future, the young man again enrolled in college, this time to earn a degree in western literature in order to teach English to high school students. For three years he pursued his degree during the day and continued working for the newspaper in the evening. Upon graduation, he began work as a teacher while continuing his role as editor at night. Finally feeling he was enough ahead to support a wife, he and his beloved married.

Life seemed finally to have reached some measure of stability for the couple as they welcomed their first child two years later. But with the birth of a son, the young man’s ambitions grew. He longed to provide the opportunity for an even better life. Considering his options, he believed the United States was that possibility. But getting into the graduate school through which he could ultimately accomplish that, the School of International Law and Diplomacy, was extremely competitive. Only the top five finalists on the qualifying exam, out of several hundred applicants, would be admitted. After much studying, he sat for the exam and against long odds, he finished among the top five!

As the young man pursued his studies the couple welcomed their second child, a little girl. And with her arrival, the young man’s resolve to create greater opportunity deepened further. Just before he graduated, he sat for and passed the exam to become a career diplomat. Upon graduation, the Taiwanese government put him to work in the Foreign Affairs office where he worked until they sent him to be a representative to El Salvador.

The son and daughter, age five and three at the time, adapted to life in a strange country with a strange language and strange customs. Five years later, after the young man and his wife had saved enough to start over in the United States, he resigned from the Foreign Service and immigrated with his family to Kansas City.

Starting over was difficult, but the young man had done it before. And this time he was not alone. In order to immigrate, the young man had to enroll in college and pursue a degree, trading his diplomatic visa for a student visa which did not permit them to work. And so for two years, the family lived on savings that forbade luxuries. The son well remembers homemade clothes of remnant fabrics that begged ridicule from peers, no school supplies, and a lot of going without.

If graduations had become routine for the young man, this one was anything but, for with it he began a new career, a new life. And his children could at last flourish.

While the young man did not know his ambition and choices would significantly impact me, a WASP American, he has, for had he not worked and sacrificed all he did, my life would be nothing like it is. And so this Father’s Day, I salute my second father, Andrew Lee. Thank you for your sacrifices and your dedication to see your children prosper.

__________________________________________________________________________

Linda1L. R. W. Lee is the author of the Andy Smithson fantasy, adventure series of which four of the seven total books have been released to date. Book five in the series, Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, is expected in Winter 2015.

She writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Her daughter is a senior at UT, Austin and her son serves in the Air Force.

Connect with L. R. W. at: Twitter   Website   Facebook

(Post originally published on L. R. W. Lee’s blog at https://lrwlee.wordpress.com/)

Pin it!

pinterestI’ve finally found a use for Pinterest. I’d heard several authors mention that they use the site for collecting images that inspire their writing or for organizing their ideas. Neither worked for me, so I wrote Pinterest off as a place to browse recipes.

Then I began research for a new YA historical fiction manuscript, Ella Wood.

ella wood kindle  insertSuddenly my “Downloads” folder was being swamped with photos of historic people, old inventions, locations in antebellum Charleston, cover images to old books, artwork, Civil War battlefields, flags, charts, maps, and all sorts of other investigative debris. I finally smacked my palm against my forehead and uploaded them all to Pinterest.

Then I realized I could deposit facts along with my pictures. I began summarizing events, posting dates, and adding how a particular person or place was relevant to my plot. This cut down on a lot of checking back through digital note files, as so much of my important groundwork information was now easily accessible. I also linked images to the websites from which they were gleaned or to related ones, creating a quick file to further information, should I need it. The system worked fabulously!

Once my novel was finished, I publicized my board and posted the link at the front of the book. Now readers have a whole database of images and trivia to browse through to compliment the story. For someone like me, that adds real depth and richness to the plot and grounds it in actual history. As a reader, I’d be thrilled to be provided such a source!

Ella WoodI only wish I had started sooner. It took some time to really figure out how to make the best use of Pinterest’s format—and to remember to do so as I researched. I know plenty of great images got away from me early on simply because I didn’t want to download everything I found to my computer. As memory kicks in, I’ve been searching for a few of those escapees and adding them in.

The second book in my trilogy, Blood Moon, is currently underway. I’m only 15,000 words in and already my new board has nearly as many images as the first one. I will never write another historical fiction novel without Pinterest!

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me3Michelle Isenhoff is currently biking to the moon and back. Between rides, she spends a good deal of time nosing stories out of dusty old tomes.

 

 

When Books Don’t Listen to You as the Writer

The first time I had a book character disobey me, I was in complete shock. I’d heard about it from other writers, but hadn’t experienced it myself. When I told one of my non-writing friends that it had happened, she was pretty sure I was crazy.

Whether you outline or discovery write, you know that sometimes your story will spin in a different direction than what you’d planned. Outliners will then have to redo their outline to fit it in, and discovery writers? They just go along for the ride.

Back to my first experience. My main character’s brother, Adam, was supposed to be a minor character. Someone who was only mentioned in passing.

And then he laughed at me. “No, sorry. I have to do this. For my sister.”

I stared in shock at the words in front of me as I saw him dart out of the room and try to save the day. I watched him get taken and move the story forward in a way that my main character couldn’t have. The story was so much stronger because of it. Then together, they were able to save the day, and the story wrapped up perfectly. Well, maybe not perfectly because another two books came after that.

There are times when you can reign in your story and tell them to behave, but before you do, weigh the consequences. Will the story suffer if you go a new direction? Will it be stronger? What are you going to have to change after this? Is it worth it?

One great indicator is how the story reacts. If you’re suddenly at a standstill and you can’t go any further, chances are you need to go back and fix a spot. Maybe that sudden inspiration wasn’t what the story needed. And sometimes the different direction is exactly what the plot needed to drive it forward.

I was done with a series last year. My character had saved the day and everything was exactly how I wanted it. Except … my story had other ideas. One day in the middle of church, a whole new plot came to mind and screamed at me to write it.

So I did. Except that I got to the ending and sat there staring at it. Nothing worked. The ending I had planned out didn’t solve anything, and in fact, made it too similar to the ending of the third book. I took a step back and talked to a few friends before suddenly realizing that this wasn’t the end. It had to go a different direction or I would have broken promises I made in the book. After I made that decision, the story flowed perfectly, and I was able to finish it later that day.

And now I have another book to write. But you know what? That’s okay, because I know that going off the beaten path will make this story stronger.

So what’s the craziest thing your characters ever made you write?

The Importance of Mentors

Mentor. noun

  1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
  2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.

Every successful author I come in contact with mentions hYoda memeow they wouldn’t be where they are without the aid of someone special. Someone who took the time to bear them up, give them encouragement and advice, and most of all, be an example. I want to talk today about mentors.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” As writers we have many authors that tell us where to go to find the answers. They say things like, “Check out this book, or visit this website.” Sometimes we are fortunate enough to sit in a class with them as they instruct us on the things we should do to better our craft. The best authors—the mentors, take time to not only instruct us but involve us. They are the ones that show they really care. They are the ones we remember years later when we finally make it.

91QXf1iLg8LA month or so ago I was very discouraged in my writing goals. I had books out and I had great reviews and feedback from kids that had read my books, but my publishing goals were not being met. I was struggling and, after years and years of trying, I was ready to call it quits. That is when my mentor, J. Scott Savage, stepped in. Noticing I was lacking my normal oomph he took me out to lunch to “talk shop.” During that luncheon he did what every great mentor does: he encouraged me, taught me from his own bumpy road of success, and showed me I’d be a fool to give up. I left that luncheon feeling more than supported—I felt guided.

Fast forward to just last weekend and I was at a writing conference in Utah called Storymakers. Here my mentor was again trying to help all he could. Not only me but as many writers that would answer his invite. The morning before the Saturday session he set up a donut breakfast in which he provided a hundred delicious donuts, milk and juice, and invited anyone to come and “talk shop” about anything to help them on their writing journey. It was by far one of the best moments I had that weekend.

jack6.000x9.000.inddWith his “Pay it Forward” mentality J. Scott Savage teaches me the type of author I want to be. He is my mentor and I am proud to call him such. I hope that one day when I make my goals as an author I can be this type of mentor to others that are like me now. I encourage aspiring writers to find mentors to help them on their journey. I invite all authors who feel they have something to offer others to help and be a mentor. So many would not be where they are today if someone didn’t take the time to show they cared.

J. Scott Savage is a middle-grade author of several books including the totally-awesome Farworld series, Case Files 13 series, and the newly anticipated series Mysteries of the Cove available this fall. You can find more information on him at http://jscottsavage.com/.